• July 27, 2023

POLICE MAY MISLAY PROSECUTORS

POLICE MAY MISLAY PROSECUTORS
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By Foday Jalloh

By the look of things, it seems as if the Sierra Leone Police with the sole responsibility to investigate, charge and prosecute cases in court may lose a seasoned investigator and prosecutor of long standing.The said situation is worrisome especially when magistrates and judges are repeatedly bashing at police prosecutors for mistakes made during court sessions, which has been largely attributed to incompetencies.

Junior Police Officers (JPOs)-Crime and National Crime Officers (NCOs) and Crime Officers deployed at various police stations have been proven of lack of legal background.

The above-mentioned officers as per mandate to assess case files that have been investigated by the police before sent to court for prosecution.

This cannot be unconnected to the issues of citing wrong sections of the law resulting to wrong charges that are made by police prosecutors in magistrate courts.

In view of that, the SLP as an institution must retain and encourage personnel who are lawyers to be occupying the position of police prosecutors and state counsels for prosecutions of state matters that are sent to the High Court after preliminary investigations.

Superintendent Tommy B. Zizer, former Deputy Director, Criminal Investigations Department currently of the force’s Legal and Justice Support Department, has been recently spotted with state prosecutors at the High Court of Sierra Leone.

With his vast experience in the areas of investigations and prosecutions, the move by Superintendent Zizer to associate himself with State Counsels serve as an indication that the SLP may mislay one of its resource personnel to the Sierra Leone Judiciary.

The SLP needs to capacitate personnel through training and scholarship especially in the areas of investigations and prosecutions to replace such trained police lawyers to face emerging challenges.

With many complaining about poor conditions of service as a major hindrance to duty, the few multi-talented officers that have over the years capacitate themselves, are also reportedly being sidelined, victimized and most times demoted by their wicked superiors based on political, ethnic and regional lines.

The Inspector General, William Fayia Sellu is expected to create a department for training that will be charge with the task of capacitating Junior Police Crime Officer, National Crime Officers and prosecutors with the required technical skills aimed at scaling up professionalism in the Sierra Leone Police force.

Findings of random observations conducted by FORUM NEWS-SL are that matters at both magistrate and High Courts are most times thrown out of court for mistakes that have direct relations with incompetence.

Not all manner of police officers should be seen in court prosecuting matters, widely shared sentiments by citizens, lawyers and judges.

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